10/10/2005

Emptywheel - Judy lied: what I think happened and what I think it means

Emptywheel has been on top of Plamegate for ages -- law

It's looking increasingly likely that the outtamyarse speculations I made in July and expounded on in my explain-it-all Plame narrative are at least in the close proximity of the money. So I'd like to take this moment to expand on the thoughts I had in July about what I think happened and what I think it means.

I'll start with a fictional reenactment of what might have happened to get us to this spot. All of this assumes that my outtamyarse speculation that Judy was going to write an article identifying Wilson, but that David Shipley found out, and that the NYT decided instead to have Wilson tell his own story rather than let Libby Bolton Cheney Judy do it for him. So here's my little fictional reenactment:

Fitz knew all along that somebody had tried to write a story identifying Joe Wilson in late June 2003. Where did he find that out? Wilson probably told him about it. Or, Fitz, like me, read Wilson's book. In any case, well before Judy's testimony, Fitz probably asked Wilson who he got the tip from in June that someone was writing a story on him. Wilson said, "Kristof" or "Shipley." And Fitz, being the thorough guy he is just made a quick call to get some details. Like who was going to write that story. And how the NYT convinced that person not to write it.

Then, in Judy's interview last Thursday (which was sworn testimony, so Judy couldn't change her mind overnight, so Fitz would know what he was getting before he let her go, and just in case Abramoff's friends got to her overnight), he asked some open-ended questions to which she should have responded with details about her earlier attempt to write a Wilson story. But she didn't. She probably, at that time, mentioned one detail that made Fitz take notice, but did not change the basic fact that she had just committed perjury.

Fitz called Wilson just to clarify the little detail. Which Wilson did easily, apparently over the phone. Fitz did it just so he made sure he had that detail straightened out before Judy's grand jury tesimony (so he was sure precisely what the outlines of her perjury were going to be).

Or, as the LA Times describes:

However, there was an additional sign that Fitzgerald continued to investigate aggressively. He phoned Wilson on Sept. 29, the same day Miller, the New York Times reporter jailed for refusing to divulge her confidential source, was released from jail after agreeing to testify in the case.

The next day, just as Fitz expected, Judy committed perjury by burying details of her earlier reporting. Fitz likely asked her a question specifically tailored around Wilson's answer the previous night. Like, "Did you have any conversations with Nicholas Kristof that might have told you about Joe Wilson?" "Nicholas Kristof," Judy said, "Isn't he that screaming liberal who pisses off Safire so much?"

Just long enough after Judy finished, after she had gone home, made a martini, gloated with Sulzberger about how many concessions she had gotten, hugged her dog, Fitz contacted Judy and said, "Um, there's one little detail you seem to have forgotten. Well, let's make that one gigantic detail. Oh, and is Art there? Can I talk to him? Because that little--I mean gigantic--detail affects the testimony he gave us as well. What's that? You'd like to add some to your testimony. Well, do you have anything concrete to give me? Such as your notes from June. Yeah, that's right, your notes detailing ALL of your sources. Yeah, I understand we agreed you could limit your testimony to your conversations with Libby about Plame. But you promised you would tell the truth, remember? And ... well ... you didn't do that."

"Hey!!!" Judy says. "Wouldn't you know it, I just remembered about some notes I've got shoved into an old suitcase upstairs!!"

So Judy is now going to share notes from the reporting she did on Wilson in June 2003. I suspect those notes already reflect information gleaned from the INR memo. And I suspect Judy will be forced to identify a tidy network of sources on Wilson, including Libby and Bolton, but maybe Hadley and others.

What does this mean for our hopes that Karl will soon lead a frogmarch parade in the near future?

Well, as Reuters says, this makes it a lot more likely Fitz will be able to sew up his neat little conspiracy case.

One source involved in the investigation said Miller's notes could help Fitzgerald show a long-running and orchestrated campaign to discredit Wilson, which could help form the basis for a conspiracy charge.

Poor little Judy was so proud that she had gotten concessions from Fitzgerald. Concessions from the guy who was about to present her with the evidence she had committed perjury. Poor little Judy, who will now have to expose a whole network of sources in a pathetic attempt to get in Fitz' good graces. I think the book deal and the martyrdom will have to wait for a while.

The Next Hurrah: Sweet Judy Blew Lies

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